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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Requiem for a Ferret

On November 22nd, 2009, my moustache died.

It lived peacefully, though not altogether unnoticed, beneath the shade of my gigantic, Semitic proboscis since I began growing it in early September, in preparation for its stage debut in "The Pirates of Penzance."

The director had decided that Major-General Stanley ought to have "a long, flowing walrus-style moustache, sweeping down to the jawline."

I looked at her and said, "I'll see what I can do."

"Good," she said, giving my shoulder an affectionate rub, "Oh, and great big mutton-chops, too."

Back in my high school days, I wore a fake moustache in a cataclysmically terrible production of "Kiss Me, Kate." The spirit gum used to epoxy the fur to my face left burns under my nose and, when it came time to remove the moustache, some of my skin invariably got removed, too. Not only that, but, during the show one night, I did an unexpected comedic improvisation on-stage that had the audience howling (I fell off a couch and crashed to the floor with a huge thud) but the conductor, a gigantic lesbian who herself had a moustache, was not amused. Backstage after the show, when I was getting changed, she charged up to me and, while I had my trousers around my ankles and fake, dead fuzz under my nose, she screamed at me and jabbed her conductor's baton into my sternum. And I think it was at that moment when I decided never to improvise during a production and never to wear fake facial hair.

So, when it came time to do "Pirates" I knew I was going to grow it myself. And grow it I did. In the style of Brevet Major-General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Mark Twain, and even Sir W. S. Gilbert himself, I went about my daily life sporting a 'stache any 19th century gent would have been proud to twirl.

I called it "my ferret."

Unfortunately, being Jewish as I am, my ferret never achieved the sweeping, flowing grace I had hoped for and had fantasized about wearing since middle school, when I longed for the day when I could be the epitome of the elegant, handsome chivalric gentleman.

The very model of a modern Major-General.

"Do people ever tell you you look like Groucho Marx?" the chef making my wife penne at IKEA said to me. I frowned.

"Yes," I replied dryly. He was the third person to make that precise remark that week.

The curse of the wiry, kinky Jew hair had struck again. And how.

I know it isn't right to say, but, even though it was Jewy, I liked the moustache. The crazy sideburns I could have done without, and indeed it was the sideburns that attracted the most attention, usually from goth teenagers congregating outside the neighborhood's local supermarkets. I can't tell you the number of sarcastic, sneering, "Nice sideburns!" I was the recipient of from September through November.

Even though I liked the moustache, and even though the sideburns might have been considered cool by hipster waitresses on the lower East Side, I promised my wife and myself that, once "Pirates" was done, I would massacre my facial hair. And, after our curtain calls on closing night, after we schmoozed with the audience, after I hung up my costume for the final time, that's just what I did. What had taken me over two months to cultivate was hacked off, thanks to my trusty Braun nazi shaving machine, in under six minutes. I was surprised the job did not require the services of a wheat thresher.

My wife squealed with delight when she saw me totally clean-shaven for the first time in a long while, and that made me feel good, but I was despondent over the copious amounts of my facial hair that resided in the theatre's bathroom trashcan.

That's.... mine.

Of course, being half-Israeli, I can grow facial hair simply by grimmacing during an episode of constipation, so I'm not really sweating it. I just miss my moustache. I guess the grass really is greener on the other side. The moustache, fortunately, wasn't green at all. Mostly brown, flecks of red here and there, and, of course, a very, very little gray.


  1. Yeah, even if it's not the most gorgeous thing in the world, it sucks giving up something that you've worked that hard on (and put up with that much shit for!). Hey- at least you'll be able to grow it back fast. My Dad is having his military pictures retaken for my Grandma, and it means shaving his goatee. Thanks to him being very Native American, it'll take months for it to grow back.

  2. Are you concerned that someone might find your discarded facial hair and clone you from it? Not only that, but this clone would naturally have all the physical attributes of you, but none of your morals and sensitivity. It could be a monster masonic apron...


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